Are You Training for the Event or the Date?

March 26, 2011

I have a marathon on [insert date]
I have a 5K on [insert date]
My season starts on [insert date]

So on and so forth.

All interesting statements.

My general reply: “Are you training for the event or the date?”

Then I typically get one of two responses: that person gets it or they don’t.

Paraphrasing a quote from Dr. Eric Cobb and applying some artistic licensing by adding an addendum to this statement:

“Competitive athletes should be able to compete at any time (with respect to a relative level of intensity).

Do not continue to read any further until you have given that statement ample time to think about and question.


Last year, I decided to do a marathon. I originally wanted to do the Philadelphia marathon, however my schedule did not allow it.

So on December 18, 2010, I did a marathon.

The typical questions that were asked by “running expert” coach colleagues are followed by myanswers:

What marathon did you run?” My marathon.
Where was the marathon?” 26.2 miles around my neighborhood.
What place did you come in?” First.
What was your time?” 5 hours and 30 mins (including total of 40 minute break time throughout to switch out hand warmers, clothes, etc. [It was 18 degrees that day]).
What was your training program? You had to have trained for weeks for it.” None. I just moved.
How many days did your body need to recover from it?” I worked out the next day. No injuries.
How so?” Some miles I slowed down; sometimes I would jog backwards, sideways, etc. I listened to my body and stayed within its limits.

Another interesting thing: I enjoyed the marathon. I enjoyed the entire experience of learning about my body. From being an overweight child to even as I got into my 20s, I never really enjoyed running. At 30, the journey was fun.

(Author’s note: Those same “running expert” coaches are still not competing as they are healing from injuries from their marathon training programs.)


Recent client’s scenario:

I can do two miles now. I can’t do a 5K yet.
If I asked you to walk 3.1 miles, could you do that?
Then you can do a 5K.

Training philosophy evolved. They did what they could accomplish prior to their race.

Result: Client did her fastest 5K time in six years a week prior to their race. Race was easy.


I’m amazed at how many people on a daily basis sell themselves short. They tell themselves they can’t do something.

Since I’ve seen so many people posting this quote lately, I might as well join in:

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” -Henry Ford

People generally put their “parking brakes” on when their goal with regards to speed, load, duration, or position intensifies. Yet if they continue to evaluate their goals with questions that they can elaborate on the context of, the possibilities are endless.

I can’t do a marathon but I can walk 26.2 miles.” That’s a marathon.


In conclusion with some Hiphop Children’s Book freestyle regurgitation :

To get that train over that mountain, you need to have a plan
So start pulling that train while you repeat “I Think I Can”
Get over that mountain so you stop saying “You Wish You Would”
Congratulate yourself and go “I Thought I Could, I Thought I Could.”

-The Little Engine That Could

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